Seven albums into one of country music’s most-respected and most-unpredictable careers, award-winning singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley continues to grow. His latest evolution comes in the form of RISER, a project due out Feb. 25, 2014 that stands as his most personal to date.
Written and recorded in the year following his father’s death, the album draws its title from “I’m A Riser,” a song about resilience and determination. “I’m A Riser” works as a commentary on spiritual, personal and societal recommitment, but it also applies to the competitive battlefield of the music industry. It’s particularly appropriate for an album about rejuvenation delivered by Bentley.
“Life in general has a way of knocking you down,” Bentley says. “It’s different reasons for different folks – could be personal reasons, could be family reasons, your job, drugs, alcohol. That song really applies to anybody that’s lived. There have always been those moments when we have to get back up and get on our feet. They are defining moments…breakthrough moments.”
Accepting change – and growing from it – is a key theme in RISER, and it is reflected by the tone of the album, which demonstrates a new artistic depth and an extra level of intensity for Bentley. It evolves from track to track, exuding a range of emotions, all the while impressing upon the listener that Bentley’s instinct for a hit is stronger than ever. Bentley made significant reconfigurations in his creative team to shake up his sonic texture without sacrificing his commercial drive. He re-enlisted executive producer Arturo Buenahora, Jr., who worked on Bentley’s first two albums; and utilized producer Ross Copperman, who co-wrote “Tip It On Back” for Bentley’s previous album Home.
The new atmosphere yielded the most focused and intense vocals of Bentley’s career. Some were recorded live with the band as the musicians laid down the tracks, but others were captured in less-than-obvious locales. One track’s vocal was recorded on Bentley’s tour bus. Still others were cut at Copperman’s house with the producer literally at Bentley’s side, pushing him to some of his most emotional, and seasoned, performances.
“It’s not even really a studio,” Bentley says of Copperman’s set-up. “It’s just kind of a corner of the house he’s taken over, so there was a kind of intimacy to the vocal process. It was important to get out of the studio and sing in different places, and to do it with other people in the room. That way, you have an audience and you get a sense of what’s working, what’s not working, when it’s feeling good, not feeling good. It brings a little more emotion and energy out of your voice.”
Since making a life-altering drive with his father from Phoenix to Nashville when he was 19 years old, Bentley has forged his own path in an industry built predominantly on formula. He has mixed elements of modern country, classic country, bluegrass and rock, maintaining an unmistakable identity while constantly reinventing his sound. His album Home debuted at No. 1 and spawned three consecutive chart-topping hits, marking 10 career No. 1 songs for Bentley as a singer and songwriter. His five previous studio albums have sold more than five million copies, garnered 11 GRAMMY nominations and earned him an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry.
Dierks Bentley has paid tribute to his wife, Cassidy, in several songs, including the title track of his last album, Black, but also in his current song, “Woman, Amen.” He wrote the song with his frequent collaborators, Ross Copperman and Josh Kear, and has said it’s one of the more personal songs about his wife and how he’d be lost without her. However, just because it’s about her, it’s really not her favorite song from his upcoming album.
“It’s funny this song is not her favorite on the record, which I love,” he says. “She’s like, ‘I love the song,’ but there are so many other songs she gravitates towards. I love the fact that just because it’s a love song doesn’t make her go, ‘I love it. It’s about me. Thanks.’ No.”
She is an important voice in the songs he does record, and he gives her props for being a big part of his career. “She has a really critical ear and she has her favorites, and she’s such an important voice for me to hear when I’m looking for information on like honest assessments. She plays an important role in the process. She’s a big part of the record, and certainly this song, ‘Woman, Amen.’ I mean with that first verse lays out how ‘you’d be lost without her,’ and for me that’s really true. I may be doing this at some level, but the meaningful would not be there.”
“Woman, Amen” is the first release from his upcoming album, The Mountain.
Dierks will launch his 2018 Mountain High Tour May 17th in Columbia, Maryland with special guests Brothers Osborne and LANCO.
Dierks Bentley (wife approval) OC: …not be there. :53
“My wife has heard so many songs, I mean so many songs. Usually the day I write them, I’ll come back and I’ll play her on a guitar or a tape or something. It’s funny this song is not her favorite on the record, which I love. She’s like, ‘I love the song,’ but there are so many other songs she gravitates towards. I love the fact that just because it’s a love song doesn’t make her go, ‘I love it. It’s about me. Thanks.’ No. She has a really critical ear and she has her favorites, and she’s such an important voice for me to hear when I’m looking for information on like honest assessments. She plays an important role in the process. She’s a big part of the record, and certainly this song, ‘Woman, Amen.’ I mean with that first verse lays out how ‘you’d be lost without her,’ and for me that’s really true. I may be doing this at some level, but the meaningful would not be there.”
Dierks Bentley has said goodbye to his thick ’90s-era mustache, after “growing it” for his recent Hot Country Knights performance at Whiskey Row last week. It took a lot of strength for the superstar to part ways with his remarkable ‘stache, however, he did shave it, which is probably for the best, especially to his career, for his marriage and so his kids would stop crying about a stranger being in the house.
it’s the end of the road… for now pic.twitter.com/qi3xlPtWA5
— Dierks Bentley (@DierksBentley) February 14, 2018
Dierks is currently making his way up the charts with his latest song, “Woman, Amen,” from his new album, The Mountain, due out later this year.
Wednesday is Valentine’s Day (February 14th), and we’ve got some thoughts and feelings more about love, romance and marriage from several of your favorite country artists. Some are new and some have become our favorites over the years. Which country stars are romantic? Which ones aren’t? Which ones have a good reason to celebrate the holiday that’s all about love?
AJ (Valentine’s Day) OC: …continue to. :24
“We got a lot of history together now, and we’re happier than we’ve ever been. So, she’s still beautiful, and she’s always inspired songs. I mean, one of my early hits was a song called ‘I’d Love You All Over Again,’ I wrote for her for our 10th anniversary. I mean, there’s been a zillion songs that have pieces of our good days and bad days inspired, and they continue to.”
Billy Currington (Valentine’s Day memory) OC: …took off running. :21
“Yeah, I remember my first girlfriend. I was in first or second grade, but anyway, I remember it was Valentine’s Day and your mom going, ‘You’ve got to give your girlfriend something, and you’ve got to go give it to her.’ I’ll never forget — we got her a box of chocolates or whatever it was. I remember going down to her classroom and knocking on the door, getting her to come to the door. I remember handing it to her, and then I took off running.”
Darius Rucker (wife) OC: …her and country music saved my life. :43
“I don’t know what it was about her. I mean, it was EVERYTHING about her. I knew, I told her I was going to marry her on our first date, [laughs] yeah. Beth’s a strong woman. It takes a strong woman to be married to a musician, especially a musician who was drinking and partying as hard as I was, and I think life for us is where we are now. It took a long time for us to get to where we are now, and we say to each other all the time, ‘I love us. I love our family. I love us.’ And I thank her every day for staying with me and being the strong woman she is, because with Hootie & the Blowfish, I could be gone for three months and then I’d come home for two days and then I’d be gone again for a month, and she put up with all that crap. You know, her and country music saved my life.”
Dierks Bentley (first date tips for guys) OC: …first date. :19
“You know, just opening the door, it’s such a big deal. It’s just a nice thing to do. It’s a car door, unlocking the door for somebody to get in the car first and hold the door to get in, and I just think that’s just, if you’re doing that, then you’re obviously thinking about ways to be respectful, be considerate, be kind and be thoughtful and make for a good first date.”
Dierks Bentley (Valentine’s Day-most interesting gift he’s given his wife) OC: …formulate yourself. 1:19
“When ‘What Was I Thinkin’’ was released in 2003, I didn’t know what my life would look like, and all of a sudden, I found myself out on the road full-time, just gone. So, the place where I was staying, I had some friends pack it up and move it into a storage facility. This year, I got that whole thing dumped back out into my house. I’m going through just years of old stuff, and in there I found some letters that she and I had written back and forth when we were dating. I was working at The Nashville Network and she was working out in San Francisco and found some letters I had written her and I’d gotten back and some stuff she’d sent me, including a CD of songs she’d been listening to, back when you made CD mixes and there’s like these three hearts on that CD. I just found that it was so meaningful for me those gifts you give each other before any money, before anything else was going on, just music, giving of mixtapes was so cool. She reminded me of a mixtape I sent her. I’d sent it to her via FedEx, because it was so important she get this as quickly as possible. This was sadly before, I guess we had internet back then, but you really couldn’t send songs over the internet. I think the most interesting thing I’ve given her and she’s given me was just mixtapes, because there’s nothing like music to put into words and the thoughts you have in your head that you can’t formulate yourself.”
Eric Church (Valentine’s) OC: …love song is. :18
“True love to me is when you love a person in spite of all their fallibilities, and for me, I have a lot of ‘em. I’m definitely at times hard to love, and that’s what’s great about Katherine and the way she loves me. She loves me in spite of those things and really for those things.”
Josh Turner (Romantic) OC: …long time to come. :26
“If you ask my wife Jennifer if I was a romantic, she would definitely say, ‘Yes,’ but she knows that sometimes my hectic schedule and our busy lifestyles can kind of interfere with the romantic side of things. But we do try to make efforts towards being together and having adult conversations and taking time away from the children and doing things that husbands and wives do, so we’ll definitely try to continue that for a long time to come.”
Lauren Alaina (Valentine’s Day) OC: …pretty embarrassing. 1:37
“I think my first Valentine’s Day with Alex, I was trying to be super cute and cook him a Valentine’s Day dinner. I was 18 at the time, and I’d just moved into this brand new apartment in Chattanooga. I was trying to get used to not living with my parents before I moved to Nashville, so I did like six months in Chattanooga in an apartment. And [giggles] my mom makes these really great mashed potatoes, which I’ve modified the recipe, but they’re delicious and I wanted to make him these potatoes, because I knew I could make these potatoes. Well, I did not grow up with a very updated kitchen, so I didn’t have a [garbage] disposal, it was very new to me. So, I peeled the bag of potatoes and put the potato peels in to the sink and tried to use the disposal and it broke it before he got there. Annnd, I turned the water on, and I was baking chicken and I was cooking broccoli and mashed potatoes, and just turned the water on and then I forgot I had the water on, so I overflowed the kitchen sink with the potato peels, and it looked like something died in my sink and my sink was like spitting it up. It was horrible. I was panicking and trying to get it all cleaned up before he got there, and he knocked in the middle of it, like knocked on the door. He was early, of course. He’s always early, and he freaking knocked. I had like potato peels flying through the air, my potatoes were boiling over. I was still boiling the potatoes. I was running behind and he was running early, so it was just crazy. But, we’ve had some great Valentine’s.”
Little Big Town (Phillip – reasons fell in love) OC: …real love. :17
“I think everything that I had gone through before had prepared me to be ready to see that there was genuine love there for me, and my Rebecca. So, it was just a great time, I wouldn’t have been ready before I met her…Now it’s just been a really great journey to heal through the past and to know real love.”
Luke Bryan (Valentine’s Day) OC: …full day. :11
“Well, I mean Valentine’s Day is, it’s kinda me and Caroline’s day just to go and just being with one another for a full day.”